Causes and Risk Factors

What causes blood pressure to go up or down? A number of things, from lifestyle habits to medications. Other important factors include a family history of high blood pressure, getting older, inactivity, eating a lot of salt or not enough potassium, or being obese.

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It’s normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day. Things like exercise, stress, and sleeping can affect your blood pressure. Some medicines can cause your blood pressure to go up. These medicines include certain asthma medicines and cold remedies.

A low blood pressure reading can be caused by many things, including some medicines, a severe allergic reaction, or an infection. Another cause is dehydration, which is when your body loses too much fluid.

Risk factors

Risk factors, or things that increase your risk for high blood pressure include:

  • Having other people in your family who have high blood pressure.
  • Aging.
  • Eating a lot of sodium (salt).
  • Drinking more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day for men or more than 1 alcoholic drink a day for women.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Not getting exercise or physical activity.
  • Race. African-Americans are more likely to get high blood pressure, often have more severe high blood pressure, and are more likely to get the condition at an earlier age than others. Why they are at greater risk isn’t known.

Other possible risk factors include:

  • Not getting enough potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
  • Sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing.
  • Long-term use of pain medicines like NSAIDs. NSAIDs include naproxen (such as Aleve), ibuprofen (such as Motrin or Advil), and celecoxib (Celebrex). Aspirin doesn’t increase your risk of getting high blood pressure.

©2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.

Causes & Risk Factors

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Prevention

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Symptoms & Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Self-Care & Management

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Causes & Risk Factors

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Prevention

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Symptoms & Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

Learn More

Self-Care & Management

Learn More